KUCHING, Jan 16 — Kuching and Bintulu have been declared rabies-infected areas.
Sarawak Minister for Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Datuk Stephen Rundi Utom said of the 16 samples collected, 12 dogs tested positive for rabies, eight of which were in Kuching, one each in Padawan and Bau, and two in Bintulu.
“All dogs tested are free-roaming and unvaccinated. Therefore, I would like to remind the public to take extra precautions and go to the clinic if bitten by an animal without fail,” he said in a statement here today.
Rundi said, earlier today, he had also signed the anti-rabies vaccination order under Section 40 (1) Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 which requires that all dogs within the state to be submitted to anti-rabies vaccination and annual booster.
He said dog owners must also be responsible for ensuring their pets are vaccinated with the anti-rabies vaccine.
“Any owner or person in charge of a dog who fails to comply shall be liable to a fine of up to RM2,500. Dogs that are already exposed to rabies and do not have proper evidence of vaccination will be put to sleep,” he said.
Rundi said the Sarawak Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) together with the Immune Belt Enforcement Team and Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit (UKPS) had intensified the anti-rabies vaccination programmes throughout the state.
“The public can get their free dog anti-rabies vaccination at any government’s veterinary offices during office hours or during the mass vaccination programme which will be announced from time to time on the official Sarawak DVS Facebook page. This year we target to vaccinate up to 50,000 dogs,” he said.
According to the State Health Department, Sarawak recorded 16 deaths last year from 18 human rabies cases.
The cumulative total human rabies cases since July 2017 now stood at 73, with 66 deaths. — Bernama